Later Zhou

Not to be confused with the ancient Zhou dynasty or the Zhou interregnum of Wu Zetian.
Capital Kaifeng
Languages Middle Chinese
Religion Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion
Government Monarchy
   951–954 Emperor Taizu
  954–959 Emperor Shizong
  959–960 Emperor Gong
Historical era Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period
   Dynasty established 13 February 951
   Formal abdication 3 February 960
Currency Chinese cash, Chinese coin, copper coins etc.
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Later Han (Five Dynasties)
Song Dynasty
Today part of  China

The Later Zhou (simplified Chinese: 后周; traditional Chinese: 後周; pinyin: Hòu Zhōu) was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty.

Founding of the Dynasty

Guo Wei, a Han Chinese, served as the Assistant Military Commissioner at the court of the Later Han, a regime ruled by Shatuo Turks. A teenager came to the throne of the Later Han in 948 after the death of the founding emperor, Gaozu. Guo Wei led a successful coup against the teenage emperor and declared himself emperor of the new Later Zhou on New Year’s Day in 951.

Rule of Guo Wei

Guo Wei, posthumously known as Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou, was the first Han Chinese ruler of northern China since 923. He is regarded as an able leader who attempted reforms designed to alleviate burdens faced by the peasantry. His rule was vigorous and well-organized. However, it was also a short reign. His death from illness in 954 ended his three-year reign.

Rule of Guo Rong

Guo Rong, posthumously known as Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou, was the adoptive son of Guo Wei. Born Chai Rong, he was the son of his wife’s elder brother. He ascended the throne on the death of his adoptive father in 954. His reign was also effective and was able to make some inroads in the south with victories against the Southern Tang in 956. However, efforts in the north to dislodge the Northern Han, while initially promising, were ineffective. He died an untimely death in 959 from an illness while on campaign.

Fall of the Later Zhou

Guo Rong was succeeded by his seven-year-old son upon his death. Soon thereafter Zhao Kuangyin usurped the throne and declared himself emperor of the Great Song Dynasty, a dynasty that would eventually reunite China, bringing all of the southern states into its control as well as the Northern Han by 979.


Sovereigns of the Later Zhou 951–960
Temple Names (Miao Hao 廟號) Posthumous Names (Shi Hao 諡號) Personal Names Period of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years
Tàizŭ (太祖) Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign 郭威 Guō Weī 951–954 Guǎngshun (廣順) 951–954

Xiande (顯德 xian3 de2) 954

Shìzōng (世宗) Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign 柴榮 Chái Róng 954–959 Xiǎndé (顯德) 954–959
Did not exist 恭帝 Gōngdì 柴宗訓 Chái Zōngxùn 959–960 Xiǎndé (顯德) 959–960

Later Zhou emperors family tree


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